Date of Award

Spring 3-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Transformational Teaching and Learning

First Advisor

Dr. Mark Wolfmeyer

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrew Miness

Third Advisor

Dr. Amy Pfeiler-Wunder


As a qualitative action research study, the purpose of The Writing for Healing and Transformation Project was to facilitate more inclusive writing strategies and to promote individual and collective healing on issues of social suffering and oppression (Kleinman, Das, & Lock, 1997; Pennebaker & Smyth, 2016) for diverse students at a community college located in the northeastern United States. The 18 participants in the study included students in my English II literature and composition course. The theoretical framework encompassed Pennebaker’s (2016) “writing for healing” paradigm, advocating the use of expressivist writing and “social suffering theory,” examining how power structures affect social problems (Kleinman, Das, & Lock, 1997). As an intervention, course readings included literature with social suffering themes. Postmodernism and Poststructural Feminism were also central theoretical components of the study, introducing the use of the semiotic strategies of translingualism and multimodalities to examine teaching strategies. The intended results were to engage students as agents of community caregiving for social healing through the publication of a charity book on a social suffering theme chosen by the students and to facilitate inclusive and alternative methods of rhetorical expression. The data collected included a recorded book theme discussion, the students’ submissions for the book, and semi-structured interviews with three participants. Using open coding, the results demonstrated a number of benefits to students, including increased confidence and poststructural shifts in thinking and writing. Book submissions exhibited a variety of rhetorical styles and semiotic strategies, along with defined solutions for healing on social suffering topics.



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